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Major new grant will help future vaccine development and secure safe food supplies

Researchers in Scotland have secured nearly £1 million to learn more about the immune systems of livestock and develop sheep and cattle vaccines.

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Researchers in Scotland have secured nearly £1 million to learn more about the immune systems of livestock and develop sheep and cattle vaccines.With the global population continuing to grow, food security is becoming a real challenge. There is a pressing need to apply new technologies and knowledge to help ensure sustainable, safe and healthy food supplies, while reducing the impact on the environment.

Effective vaccines are the most efficient way of preventing the transmission and spread of infectious diseases in cattle and sheep. However there are still many diseases for which no effective vaccines exist and the lack of knowledge of the immune systems of these animals is considered to be a major block to strategic vaccine development.However, thanks to a major grant from the BBSRC and the Scottish Government, scientists from Moredun Research Institute near Edinburgh, working in partnership with colleagues from the nearby Roslin Institute will undertake detailed investigations of the immune responses of sheep and cattle, vitally underpinning the development of vaccines in the future.

The work will be done in conjunction and with the support of an industrial partner, AbD Serotec. This will ensure that the techniques and reagents developed in the project will be widely available to the scientific community in order to support future vaccine research.A critical component in designing effective vaccines is to understand how the immune system is able to protect against a variety of different infections. The ability to both measure and induce immune responses in livestock using components of the organisms that cause disease is an absolute requirement for rational vaccine design.

Moredun has a long history in immunology research in farm livestock and is recognised as a world leader in this area. Professor Gary Entrican from Moredun Research Institute (and Honorary Professor at The Roslin Institute) is leading this project in collaboration with The Roslin Institute's Professor Liz Glass. He commented, "We need to know more about immune responses in cattle and sheep if we are to develop new vaccines to prevent diseases. Ultimately this project will lead to improvements in the health and welfare of our farmed animals, therefore making our livestock industry more productive."


For further information please contact:

Maggie Bennett

Communications Manager

  • Moredun Research Institute

Contact details



Pentlands Science Park
Bush Loan

Penicuik, Scotland
Post Code
EH26 0PZ(P)


This grant is co-funding collaboration between Scottish Government and BBSRC (BB/I019863/1).Title: The route of identification of the immunological correlates in ruminantsLead PI -Professor Gary Entrican, Moredun Research Institute

Other partners - Professor Liz Glass and Dr Jayne Hope, The Roslin Institute, University of Edinburgh

Industrial partner - AbD Serotec

  • Moredun Research Institute (Moredun) conducts internationally recognised research on the infectious diseases of livestock, caused by important bacteria, viruses and parasites. Based in Scotland, it employs 170 scientists and vets who work to improve animal health and welfare, ensure food safety, reduce adverse impacts on the environment, and to contribute to sustainable communities through economic development across Scotland and beyond. Moredun's research focuses on understanding the interaction of the disease pathogen with the host species, in identifying new targets for improved diagnostic tests and in development of novel vaccines for many diseases.
  • The Roslin Institute( is incorporated with the Royal (Dick) School of Veterinary Studies, the world leading Veterinary School in the UK in the 2008 Research Assessment Exercise, at the University of Edinburgh. The Institute undertakes research within the framework of BBSRC Institute Strategic Programmes focussed on the health and welfare of animals, and applications of basic animal sciences in human and veterinary medicine, the livestock industry and food security. The Roslin Institute received a total of £8.5M investment from the Biotechnology and Biological Sciences Research Council in 2010-11.
  •  AbD Serotec is the research antibody division of MorphoSys, one of the world's leading antibody technology companies. The AbD Serotec brand was created in early 2006 to market the combined products and services of Antibodies by Design, Biogenesis, Serotec, and Oxford Biotechnology - more than 15,000 antibodies and immunological reagents, custom monoclonal antibodies developed from the MorphoSys HuCAL library, and large and small scale antibody production and conjugation services.